The science of Knointing
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June 13, 2023
The science of Knointing


MEMORIES OF childhood include hearing the pronouncement after an especially hard fall “She bottom peak drop”. What followed was my first experience with knointing. In my case, it was performed by a recognized and experience practitioner “Miss Sister” who knointed my “bottom peak” back into place, an experience that was not exactly painless.

Later on in life, I was to learn that I actually had a “bottom peak” known scientifically as the coccyx.

Regardless of how you decide to spell the word, most locals would have had an experience with knointing. Knointing is the process in which a body part is rubbed deeply after a musculoskeletal injury such as a sprain, strain, “pound” (contusion), etc.

Older generations prefer using coconut oil as a lubricant but, in a pinch, baby oil can be used. Traditionally, a wizened member of the community or family performs this task. However, age is not the only qualifier. That individual must possess knowledge on how to properly execute a knointing along with some knowledge on injuries and how the body works.

Many generations of Vincentians will attest to the benefits of a good knointing. Some too also possess horror stories of knointings gone wrong. The question is therefore, is knointing a proven scientific practice or is its benefits only psychological?

Science theory

The knointing process involves friction (rubbing) and stretching. Friction is a tried and true massage technique that is used after injury. Friction has been proven scientifically to increase blood flow  to the affected area. The act of rubbing helps to break down adhesions and mobilise fibrous tissue. It also helps to improve elasticity and range of movement.

So, just by applying this part of knointing, there are already benefits that can be accessed.

However, the same process that allows for healing through the increasing of blood flow to the affected area, also results in an increase in acute pain. That is why knointing hurts especially when the injury is fresh.

Research has shown that the technique used for knointing is much like, if not akin to, the same technique used in cross fibre/ deep transverse friction massage.This massage technique is used to reduce the crystalline roughness that forms between tendons. This translates to the broadening, separation and breaking up of adhesions helping the area to regain strength, pliability and movement.

It is important to stress here that knointing, like massage, is very technical.

Prior knowledge and training is needed. It cannot and should not safely be done by someone without that expertise. For now, be reassured that the old folks knew what they were doing when they recommended a knointing. Let us know what your views are on the Science of Knointing.